Throwback Thursday: Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz – “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)”
The phenomenon of the one-hit wonder is one that has always puzzled me. How can an artist be so successful and then disappear into thin air? How can people love a song so much and then care so little about its follow-up? How can a record label enjoy success with an artist and not try harder to replicate it? So many questions.
These questions come to mind whenever I hear Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz’s “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby).” How come a rap duo this dope was never able to have a second hit? Yes, they were featured on the two other hits — the remix to Mariah Carey’s “My All” and Tatyana Ali’s “Daydreamin'” — but as far as their own releases are concerned, “Deja Vu” was their one and only. The duo didn’t even release a second single, and by 1999, they disbanded due to frustration with the music industry.
The brevity of Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz’s run isn’t the only thing that makes me sad. The other thing is how badly they were jipped by Steely Dan.
“Deja Vu” samples Steely Dan’s “Black Cow.” To sample a song, its copyright holder (usually the people who wrote it) has to clear it for use. When Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz tried to clear the “Black Cow” sample, Steely Dan only did so on the condition of an upfront payment of $115,000 and 100% of the song’s royalties. Basically, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz don’t make money from their one hit.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Steely Dan also demanded sole songwriting credit, so “Deja Vu” is credited to Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, the two members of Steely Dan. You hate to see it.
If you’re wondering why Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz agreed to such a disastrous agreement, it’s because they were banking on having many more hits. Little did they know, they wouldn’t even have another single. Life is truly a bitch.
Due to the fact that we’d be dropping more coins in Steely Dan’s pockets, I reluctantly ask you to click play.